Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is headed for launch in just a few months, and information about the device is already beginning to leak to the press. The S7 has a tough road to walk — the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were supposed to reverse the Galaxy S5’s disappointing sales figures. Instead, Samsung discounted its flagship handset and cut prices to keep its sales figures up. Several analysts have suggested that while the firm’s mobile division did fairly well in the last quarter of the year, its profits aren’t being driven by the sale of flagship devices.
Leaks and spec sheets should always be taken with a grain of salt, but everything we’ve seen points in the same direction. The Galaxy S7 (SM-G930F) will feature a 5.1-inch screen with a 2560×1440 display, a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, 4GB of RAM, and either Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 processor or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 — and there’s a real question here, despite the news that Samsung itself is building the Snapdragon 820. Historically, Samsung has used a mix of both its own chips and Qualcomm’s to meet the demands of different markets. The Asian markets are reportedly more concerned with core counts, and it’s possible that the Exynos 8890 is meant to fit that space, while Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 820 is used for the US products.
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S6, the S7 will reportedly use a 12-megapixel camera, down from 16. This may seem like a marketing problem, but camera enthusiasts know the megapixel rating attached to any given device is just one aspect of whether it can take decent photos.
Our own David Cardinal met with Samsung at CES, so we asked him to weigh in on the camera changes we may see on the Galaxy S7. Here’s David:
“Samsung’s Semiconductor division has been touting the low-light advantages of its new BRITECELL sensor layout, so it will be interesting to see if it is willing to gamble its new flagship phone on the technology. BRITECELL replaces the standard Bayer array sensor layout (typically shown as GRBG – alternating lines of Green and Red, and Blue with Green) with one that is WRBW (rows of White and Red alternating with Blue and White) – although Samsung product managers told us that the White has a slight green tint. This would be a bold move, as previous efforts to experiment with new sensor layouts in smartphones have not been very successful. For example, Motorola’s experiment with an RGBW (which is sometimes described as RGBC – with C for clear) in its Moto X camera was short-lived.
“When asked about the imaging artifacts that have been an issue for previous attempt to use White (or “Clear”) pixels, Samsung explained that because produces both the sensor and the imaging pipeline that it has been able to address those issues with BRITECELL.”
The two features that no one is talking about, despite repeated requests for inclusion, are a removable battery and a microSD slot. Every time we’ve written about the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, we’ve gotten at least a few Samsung customers who wanted to see these two features return. So far, the company doesn’t seem to be listening. The Snapdragon 820should deliver excellent performance, but whether that’s enough to persuade consumers to upgrade after being less-than-enthused about both the Galaxy S5 and S6 is anyone’s guess.